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EdL 763 Understanding and Facilitating Learning in Adulthood Marsha Rossiter, PhD Summer 09
A Narrative Perspective To be a person is to have a story to tell. Sam Keen & Anne Valley-Fox
All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story. . . . Isak Dinesen
“Tell me a story,” we beg as small children, in order to both know and imagine our world. “Can you give us an example?” our students ask, looking for a story in which to ground a new theory or idea. A 92-year old woman, recently moved into a nursing home, asks her daughter to tell her again what happened to her piano and her cat, calling on one she loves to help her hold on to the story of her life. . . .
. . . The stories we hear and the stories we tell shape the meaning and texture of our lives at every stage and juncture. Witherell & Noddings
Paradigmatic (Scientific) Logical Objective Analytical Results in: “A well-formed argument” Narrrative Authentic Contextual Relational Results in: “A good story” 2 Ways of Knowing – Bruner
Focuses on: Sequence, context Human intentionality Interpretation Language Not on: Categories Observable facts Statistical analysis Measurement Narrative Knowing
From Narrative Psychology Narrative is the fundamental mode of understanding by which people make sense of their own and others’ actions and life events. Polkinghorne
Narrative Psych con’t What people find meaningful about themselves and their world is made manifest or expressed through language in the form of metaphors, narratives, stories, and autobiography. Gary Kenyon
Hopkins’ Narrative Premise If it is true. . . that there is no other place to reach us with educational messages than in and through these [narrative] products of our lives as we live them and give them meaning, then a narrative pedagogy may provide a means of achieving these transformative ends.
Hopkins’ Narrative Proposal The frames of meaning within which learning occurs are constructions that grow out of our impulse to emplot or thematize our lives. If it is true . . . that there is no other place to reach us with educational messages than in and through these products of our lives. . . , then a narrative pedagogy may provide a means of achieving these transformative ends. Hopkins, p. 10
Hopkins’ Thesis Education must be aligned with (in tune with, responsive to) the LIVED EXPERIENCE of the students.
Hopkins’ Key Points • School is an inauthentic experience for most students. • Student energy is wasted in resistance rather than learning. • Students learn that their own experiences do not count. • Students learn to discount their own ideas and goals.
Mechanistic Metaphor • Humans as passive • Education as manipulation • Knower is separate from the known • Knowledge as a commodity • Fragmentation, separation into parts • Objectivity
“Mechanistic Education consists of the purposeful manipulation of students toward predetermined ends and ignores the experience of the of the students themselves, viewing it as contamination of the process.” Hopkins, p. 12
Conduit Model • Assumption: Ideas, thought, emotions can travel – wholly formed – from the speaker to the listener. • Transfer of knowledge: • From outside to inside the student’s mind • From the teacher to the student Hopkins
Conduit Model “The assumptions behind this posture represent the widespread belief that solutions to our problems lie in the control and containment of experience and thus of freedom.” Hopkins, p 24
Narrative Metaphor • Humans as active • Experience as a source of learning • Story as a structure of meaning • Focus on meaning • Knowledge as interpretive and constructed
Narrative Model • Assumption: Learners are actively engaged in constructing meaning from information. • Learning requires interpretation. • Education is relational. • Learners’ experience is integral to learning.
The Main Idea If learning is about making meaning, And if narrative is the fundamental structure of human meaning making, Then learning involves a narrative process, And, facilitation of learning should employ narrative-friendly methods.
Narrative Learning – Rossiter and Clark • Stories Heard • Stories Told • Stories Recognized
Narrative Teaching – Rossiter and Clark • Use of Stories • Learner stories • Facilitator stories • Stories from literature • Storying the Curriculum • Teaching as interpretation • Autobiographical Learning Activity